Pistol shooter Heena Sidhu has pulled out of the Asian Air Gun Shooting Championships that is scheduled to be held in Tehran, Iran. Heena withdrew due to Iran’s strict rule that stipulates all women athletes to wear hijab.
She had written a letter to the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) about her decision to withdraw from the competition. NRAI then replaced her with Harveen Srao for the Tehran bound squad.
“Sport is an exhibition of sheer Human Effort Performance. Our ability to dig deep for Strength, Will Power and Determination.
“This is d reason I compete n I cannot compete for anything lesser than this. But I wud also not have my personal opinion politicised,” Sidhu wrote on her twitter handle.
Heena was the only shooter to have raised an objection to the rule as rest of all the women shooters have agreed to wear hijabs.
In a serious of tweets on Saturday, Heena, who represented India at both London and Rio Olympics, tried to explain her point of view saying she was not a revolutionary but forcing sportspersons to wear hijab was not in the spirit of the sport.
“I thank the NRAI for respecting my views n I wud also like 2wish luck 2 r team competing in Iran. Lets concentrate on competition dan hijab.”
She further said, “Im proud 2 b sportsperson coz ppl from diff cultures, backgrouds, sexes, ideologies, religion can cum 2gether n compete without biases.
“Im not a revolutionary. But I feel dat making it mandatory for even a sportsperson to wear hijab is not in the spirit of a Sport.
“There have been reports abt me skipping the Asian air weapon competition in Iran due to their practice of making women wear hijab.”
Heena finished 14th after getting eliminated in the qualification round of 10m women’s air pistol in Rio Olympics in August. She had earlier won a gold at the 2013 World Cup as well as the Asia Rio 2016 Olympics qualifiers to claim her Rio Games berth.